Friday, January 2, 2009

Interview with Shane Russeck, Festival Director of The Paranoia Horror Film Fest

A few weeks ago, we talked about a new film festival that's hitting Southern California, called the Paranoia Horror Film Festival. If you missed it, here's the link. However, to sum it up, not only are they vying to be one of the largest Horror Conventions & Film Festivals right out of the gate, they're doing it on board the haunted RMS Queen Mary that's docked at Long Beach, right next to Howard Hughes' "Spruce Goose". Anyhow, building on that post, we've since had the chance to talk with the festival director and founder, Shane Russeck, to find out more about the festival...

Please tell us a bit about yourself… how’d you get into the whole indie horror scene?

I've always been a huge fan of Horror films. When I was a young kid, my Mother accidentally put "Halloween" on for me and my brother - I've been hooked ever since.

Tell us a bit about Paranoia, when and why did it get started?

I was at a horror convention, promoting a feature that I had acted in and noticed how many films were looking for distribution. I started thinking about how to get these films seen in a more effective venue and literally, Paranoia just came to me.

Talk a bit about the process in getting a film festival up and off the ground. What kind of hurdles did you have and what were some of the lessons learned?

Honestly, we haven't experienced many hurdles in launching Paranoia. We've been lucky in that the response has been overwhelming. It may be exclusive to the Horror genre, but we've found that Producers, Writers, Directors, Agents, Sales reps and Distributors have all been incredibly supportive of Paranoia and integral in getting it off the ground.

From the perspective of a film, why should indie horror filmmakers try to get their films into festivals?

Indie Horror Filmmakers need to get their films seen by industry professionals. Film Festivals like Paranoia are ideal for getting the films seen by the 'right' people.

From the perspective of the filmmaker, what can I expect to get out of attending and/or having my film screen at the festival?

As a filmmaker screening your film at Paranoia, you can expect first and foremost, a fun time at what people are calling the world's largest Horror Event. An exciting, exclusive red carpet premiere for your film and an opportunity to have your film viewed by the industry's best.

As a horror fan, what can expect to get out of attending the festival?

As a fan of Horror, you can expect to see what the next "big thing" in Horror is going to be. Plus, only Paranoia offers midnight screenings of classic Horror films in the Queen Mary's haunted boiler room.

When you’re accepting films, what are you looking for?

I keep an open mind about all of the films that I screen for Paranoia, but I have to say, I can really tell when a filmmaker is truly passionate about their project.

Does budget come into play when you’re considering films?

Budget absolutely does not come into play when I'm considering a film for Paranoia. Creativity, however is a must.

As a filmmaker, what can I do to make my film more festival friendly? Should I even be thinking of that?

I believe every filmmaker should follow their passion and make the film that they really want to make. Period.

At what point in the filmmaking process should I be thinking about the festivals?


What advice can you give to an up and coming filmmaker in the indie horror genre?

My advice to any filmmaker is to stay original and never stray from your vision. Whatever you do, make it your own.

Tell us about the future of indie horror, where do you see it going?

The great part of it is that I have no idea, and I can't wait to find out.

What’s next for you and Paranoia?

We have a lot of exciting opportunities coming our way, but for now, we are focusing on throwing a great event.

Where can people find out more about Paranoia and how can they go about entering their film?

All the information on Paranoia can be found at

No comments: